Navigating December Holidays: Ensuring Protection and Safety This Holiday Season
With the December holidays finally being upon us, many families are booking and embarking upon their holidays for a few weeks of rest, relaxation and fun. However, amidst the festive cheer, it's crucial to prioritise safety and protection, especially when it comes to travel.
Universal Air Evac is here to guide you on how to ensure your safety and well-being throughout the holiday season. We thought we would unpack how you should prepare for your trip and what you need to consider before packing your bags.
Whether you are staying local in South Africa, heading to a more remote spot, or taking the first plane out to an international destination, make sure you are prepared before leaving.
Common Accidents During the Holidays
While the holidays are a time for joy and relaxation, they also come with their fair share of risks. Understanding the common accidents that occur during this season can help you stay vigilant and take preventive measures. Over the years, we have seen many accidents and mishaps, and here are some of the most common:
Stumbles, Missteps and Tumbles
Unfamiliar environments, slippery pool areas and the occasional indulgence in alcoholic beverages, all contribute to an increased likelihood of unfortunate falls during your holiday getaway.
While it might seem like common sense, it's crucial to be mindful of your surroundings. Resist the temptation to let mesmerising scenery divert your attention from the path ahead. Avoid multitasking by recording videos or taking photos while walking. Many accidents within hotel premises result from uneven carpets, poorly maintained floors or wet surfaces. Regulations in foreign countries differ, so don't assume that potential hazards will be marked.
Spending extended periods outdoors in hot weather puts you at risk of dehydration. This risk is exacerbated when consuming alcohol. The reason behind this is that beer, spirits, and wine inhibit the production of vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) responsible for maintaining fluid balance in the body. Additionally, alcohol acts as a diuretic, promoting increased urination and fluid loss. When combined with heightened perspiration due to the sun's heat, the situation becomes a perfect recipe for dehydration. Lastly, heed the timeless advice seen on poolside posters: refrain from running on wet tiles and, of course, no diving into the water.
Sunburn and Heatstroke Hazards
Holidaymakers often expose themselves to excessive sunlight, leading to painful and potentially life-threatening consequences. Choosing the right sunscreen involves considering both the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and the star rating, denoting UVA protection. Look for a combination of high SPF and star rating for optimal protection. Even waterproof products lose efficacy after a swim, so reapply after any aquatic activities.
It is also important to be sun-conscious, and take breaks out of the sun, stay hydrated and wear a hat to protect your head. Regardless of your skin tone, avoid direct sunlight during peak hours (12 noon to 2pm, or 3pm in tropical regions). If sunburn occurs, seek shade, cool the skin with a tepid shower, take pain relievers, and apply calamine lotion or after-sun cream.
Similar precautions apply to heat exhaustion, which, if untreated, can escalate to heatstroke. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, confusion, dry and flushed skin, a bounding pulse, and a temperature exceeding 40°C. In cases of suspected heatstroke, seek immediate medical assistance.
One of the most common reasons for repatriation is due to traffic incidents, this is due to:
• Driving on a different side of the road.
• Driving in unfamiliar areas.
• Different road rules and signage.
• Unfamiliar vehicles.
• Driving motorbikes or scooters.
• Driving in rural, remote and undeveloped areas.
Whether you're a driver, pedestrian, or passenger, stay vigilant. Unfamiliar surroundings may shift your focus from potential dangers. Pay attention to local laws regarding crossings and traffic lights. They might catch a relaxed and unwary traveller unfamiliar with the area.
The combination of heat, humidity, and unfamiliar water can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort for many travellers, and many have had days, and even weeks ruined off their holiday due to the impact of different food and water.
Bacteria thrive in warmer climates, necessitating extra caution with riskier foods like seafood and chicken. Even seemingly harmless fruits and vegetables can pose a risk if washed in local water unfamiliar to your system. Promptly address vomiting to prevent dehydration; rest, consume bland foods, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks, spicy and fatty foods.
Prevent the spread of infection by maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness in shared spaces. For those vulnerable to dehydration, consider oral rehydration solutions from a pharmacy. Persistent symptoms require medical attention, with doctors potentially prescribing antibiotics or anti-emetic medication.
Sporting Ventures and Excursions
While most excursions proceed smoothly, it's essential to choose reputable companies to ensure your safety and enjoyment. It is also crucial to take extra precautions when doing activities in a foreign area.
Before parting with your money and entrusting your safety, ask questions if you have any concerns about the excursion operator. Check reviews and credentials for activities like white-water rafting or scuba diving. Simple precautions, such as wearing appropriate footwear and refraining from impulsive jumps into pools, can significantly reduce the risk of common injuries.
The Importance of Travel Insurance
One of the best ways to protect yourself during the holidays is by investing in the right travel insurance. Universal Air Evac emphasises the need for comprehensive coverage that includes medical evacuation services. In the event of an emergency, having access to air evacuation can be life-saving, ensuring you receive prompt and specialised medical attention.
The Bottom Line
As you embrace the holiday spirit, it is important to prioritise your safety and well-being. Universal Air Evac encourages you to be vigilant, take preventive measures against common accidents, invest in comprehensive travel insurance and navigate through potential tourist traps with caution. By doing so, you can ensure a joyful and stress-free holiday season for you and your loved ones. Travel safely, and may your holidays be filled with happiness and memorable moments!